ISLAMABAD - Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Wednesday said thorough consultations were held with all stakeholders during preparation of the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2023. Talking to media outside the Parliament House, she said the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Broadcasters Association and AMEND were involved in the consultation process and they supported the bill. Major change in the PEMRA (Amendment) Bill 2023 was the inclusion of Article 19 which guaranteed freedom of expression and definition of misinformation and disinformation, she added. Marriyum said in the amended bill, the powers of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) chairman had been curtailed and entrusted to the Council of Complaints (CoC). The minister said she had closely witnessed the difficulties being faced by the media workers when she was in opposition. The working journalists and media workers performed duties entrusted by their institutions under difficult conditions, and clauses added to the bill pertained to their welfare, which, unfortunately, was termed a black law, she added.
She said timely payment of salaries to the media workers and journalists was protected in the bill and the government would not give advertisements to the media outlets which would clear dues of their employees within two months. “Implementation of the minimum wage law for journalists and media workers is ensured in the amended bill,” she added. Marriyum said presently there was no platform for the media workers where their appeals could be heard, but now media workers, journalists and owners had been given representation in the CoC. The government had appointed a competent chairman of the Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees (ITNE), which redressed the complaints of newspaper employees, she added. She said during the last nine months, the ITNE helped recover Rs140 million dues of the newspaper employees.